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'Boardwalk Empire' -- Agent Van Alden Kills in the Name of ... Who? (VIDEO)

by Oliver Miller, posted Nov 29th 2010 10:16AM
'Boardwalk Empire' -- Van Alden Kills in the Name of ... Who?A baptism is a religious ceremony that invokes death, life, and rebirth. But there are different kinds of baptism. There's baptism by water, by fire ... or by blood. On the new 'Boardwalk Empire' (Sun., 9PM ET on HBO), all three take place -- at the same time.

Straight-arrow Federal agent Nelson Van Alden (Michael Shannon) is after Atlantic City treasurer and bootlegging-mastermind Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi). Van Alden is all about rules -- and religion.

At the same time, he's morally compromised. He's sexually obsessed with Margaret Schroeder (Kelly Macdonald), Nucky's mistress. In the past, Van Alden's guilt-ridden thoughts have resolved themselves in various odd ways ... including whipping himself as punishment for his "sinful" longings. On tonight's episode, things get even more violent.

Nelson is frustrated with his corrupt partner, agent Sebso (Erik Weiner). He suspects that Sebso works for Nucky; eventually, Van Alden's "fiery" rage pushes him over the edge. While searching for an illegal bootlegging joint, the agents stumble upon a baptismal ceremony. The event takes place in a nearby river. A local preacher is leading the ceremony; Nelson calls out to him. "Do you think Christ hears you in this forsaken place?" he asks.

"He hears everybody everywhere," the preacher replies. "Every road leads to a reckoning." This is enough to set Van Alden off -- later, he leads Sebso back to the river. Sebso is Jewish, and Nelson orders his partner to be baptized as a Christian. Agent Sebso goes along with it, just to avoid an argument. But the scene is ominous. The two men wade out into the water ... But when Nelson dunks Sebso's head in the river, he's suddenly overcome with anger. He holds his partner underwater for longer and longer, as Sebso struggles and kicks ... until at last, Van Alden has killed his partner. It's shocking -- but somehow inevitable.

Who is Van Alden killing in the name of? Is he doing it for God? Or for himself? Sebso was corrupt, and was working for Nucky. On the other hand, Van Alden is guilty of lusting after Nucky's mistress. The partners are mirrors of each other, in a way. And in the end, Nelson's rage takes control. He turns a baptism of water into a blood murder -- and turns against his one supposed ally.

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Andy

Yes I am curious as well, where did they go? RIP Agent Sebso

November 29 2010 at 3:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wes

Why are there no more recaps of this show here at TVSquad?

November 29 2010 at 1:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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